A Eunice mother shot her two daughters, set fire to her home and then took her own life early Sunday morning in a tragic case where investigators are still searching for a motive.
Authorities believe Carla Watford, 39, took the lives of 16-year-old Julia Watford and 9-year-old Jayia Watford before turning the gun on herself as the family’s home began burning, said Brant Thompson, deputy chief with the state Fire Marshal’s Office.
“Carla was not a bad person. She was a good mother. What led her to do this, we will never know,” said Eunice Police Chief Randy Fontenot, reading a statement from the woman’s family at a Monday news conference.
Thompson said investigators found a .38-caliber pistol in the burned-out home, as well as material they believe the mother used to ignite the fire.
“Carla Watford planned this event out quite well,” Thompson said. “We did recover a hand written, multipage document, which we believe she authored, setting forth her intentions.”
He said the document seems to be directed at family members, though it is unclear if she intended anyone to see it.
“I wouldn’t say it was meant for public dissemination,” Thompson said.
He said authorities were not prepared to discuss the contents of the document or a possible motive in the case.
“There are still a lot of answers that have yet to be determined,” state Fire Marshal Butch Browning said. “Obviously, something led up to this. It wasn’t something that just happened Sunday morning.”
The Eunice Fire Department responded to the scene shortly after midnight when a passer-by saw the fire, Thompson said.
The home was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived, Thompson said, and all three bodies were discovered in the master bedroom.
“We have determined the fire originated in an area of the home just outside the master bedroom,” he said.